Author Archives: Ricki

Ricki Marking-Camuto has been reviewing for Bitten by the Books since basically the beginning, and she is also one of the review editors. She will read almost anything, but here favorite genres include fantasy, horror, mystery, paranormal, and all YA and graphic novels/manga. Ricki was the Executive Managing Editor for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror for the now-defunct Chippewa Publishing, but she still freelances. She holds a BA in Theatre Management and MFA in Directing, which all relate to her day job. When not working or reading, she can be found with her husband and dog, or hanging out with her group of friends do all sorts of nerdy/geeky things.

Audio Review: Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin

Because It Is My Blood (Birthright (Zevin) by Gabrielle Zevin Because It Is My Blood picks up shortly after the first book in Gabrielle Zevin’s Birthright series, All These Things I’ve Done. Anya Balanchine’s sentence at Liberty is coming to an end, and she finds out that her nemesis, Charles Delacroix, has something to do with the easy time she has received there. Although she promised to stay away from his son, that becomes impossible when an anonymous donation lets her back into Holy Trinity. Read More »

Audio Review: All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

All These Things I've Done (Birthright (Macmillian) by Gabrielle ZevinA future where chocolate and coffee are banned could be pretty bleak, and if your family is the US’s top exporter of chocolate, that means your family is a bunch of criminals—a mob, actually. This is the predicament that sixteen-year-old Anya Balanchine finds herself in. As if she does not have enough trouble keeping track of her older, mentally-challenged brother and her spunky, younger sister while their guardian, their grandmother, is on life-support, she is accused of poisoning her ex-boyfriend with chocolate. Read More »

Gift of Magic by Lynn Kurland

Gift of Magic (A Novel of the Nine Kingdoms) by Lynn KurlandLynn Kurland writes romances for fantasy lovers. Her Nine Kingdoms novels are excellent for fantasy fans that want a tinge of romance with their epic fantasy, and Gift of Magic is a perfect ending to the second arc in this series.

Sarah and Ruith have been through a lot together, and luckily their adventure is about to finally finds its end. To get there, though, they will have to use Sarah’s ability to see spells to find all of Ruith’s father’s evil spells that have been spread throughout the land. As always, their journey Read More »

Veil of the Unknown by Kelly Leigh and Terri Lucas

Veil of the UnknownTogether, authors Kelly Leigh and Terri Lucas create a well-developed modern world where the unobscured (ie. paranormals) walk among us. Veil of the Unknown tells the story of one obscured on her journey towards lifting the veil and becoming unobscured.

Librarian Lily Drew leads a rather lonely existence. Living in her deceased aunt’s house, Lily spends her time working, watching movies, and sometimes hanging out with her best friend, the very outgoing Miranda. All of that starts to change when Lily receives a mysterious postcard. The postcard actually turns out to be the start of a long series of clues relating to her parents’ Read More »

Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador’s Gate by K. S. R. Kingworth

Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador's GateChildren’s fantasies are meant to take the reader on an adventure in a new world where they learn lessons that are applicable to ordinary life. K. S. R. Kingworth does exactly this in Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador’s Gate.

Liver is a Secret Speaker, a small being of light that lives in the throats of hoomins, a race that inhabits our world but is invisible to us. Liver, however, is not a typical Secret Speaker. Most Secret Speakers are assigned to a single hoomin, but Liver is only the third one assigned to an era.

Because Secret Speakers have to latch onto a hoomin, Liver is sent to reside in Fair O’Nelli, a wee hoomin who is about to reach her thirteenth birthday and thus become an adult hoomin. After her brother and father were captured and presumed killed, Fair’s mother locked her in the cellar to protect her from the leader of Cloven Grave, Harold King, who rounded up all the wee hoomin Fair’s age to prevent the fruition of a prophecy that he would be overturned.

At Fair’s birthday party, she learns she is more than just a plain hoomin – she is destined to free the residents of Cloven Grave from Harold King’s rule. To do so, though, she must pass through many gates and find Selador’s Gate, the gate that will lead her people back to the world they come from. Harold King, though, will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening, including taking her dog, Sauveren, and locking her up with the rest of the matternots, the wee hoomins he rounded up years ago, including her brother, Hale.

Fair has a wonderful strength of character that is needed in any good fantasy. Despite adversity, she always presses on to save her friends and meet her destiny. And this is not easy as her journey is fraught with twists and setbacks at every turn.

The unique and charming characters are the strong point in Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador’s Gate. The plot, however, while highly creative and imaginative, starts off rather complicated and meanders a little too much. There are also too many deus-ex-machina moments for any older fantasy fan. The world-building also suffered as some points were introduced either in too much depth too soon or not enough depth too late. Plus, the constant use of the word “hoomin” and “wee hoomin” got old quick – in the real world, we have plenty of synonyms for the words “human” and “child”.

Young fantasy fans will enjoy K. S. R. Kingworth’s imaginative new world. Older fantasy fans, however, will find Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador’s Gate both too simple and too complicated, often at the same time.

Book Stats:

  • Paperback: 475 pages
  • Publisher: Brigham Distributing (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0980130352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0980130355

Buy a print copy of  Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador’s Gate from Amazon by clicking here.
Buy a Kindle copy of Secret Speakers and the Search for Selador’s Gate from Amazon by clicking here.

 

Winging It by Deborah Cooke

Winging It: The Dragon Diaries bg Deborah CookeDeborah Cooke definitely gets her bearings with YA in Winging It. This second offering in The Dragon Diaries is much stronger than the first, Flying Blind.

Zoe Sorensson is the new Wyvern among the dragon shifters, but her powers are not quite fully developed yet. With no other Wyvern around and no real manual for dragons, she is kind of on her own, and is rather making a mess of things. Read More »

Wild Ghost Chase by Ericka Scott

Wild Ghost Chase by Ericka ScottGhost hunting shows are all the rage now, and Ericka Scott uses them as the impetus for her novel Wild Ghost Chase.

Malcolm and Monica, the ghost-hunting brother-and-sister team of the show Happily Ever Afterlife, are told they must fight for their careers against the duo Irene and Enigma from their rival show, Bump in the Night. Together, both teams, with their crew and network exec, Inez, are to investigate the cliff-side Harrington House. Read More »

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Fever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy) by Lauren DeStefano Fever is the middle novel of Lauren DeStephano’s The Chemical Garden Trilogy. Unfortunately, it does suffer the way so many middle books do, but it is still a very important installment in Rhine’s story.

Having escaped the mansion of her husband and his diabolical father, Vaughn, Rhine and her friend, former servant Gabriel, find themselves washed up on shore near a very strange carnival. Read More »

A Witch’s Legacy by Catherine Anne Collins

Prophetic visions, ritualistic killings, and ancient druids – Catherine Anne Collins brings all of these to modern-day Salem in A Witch’s Legacy.

Making use of her interior designer skills, Cassandra’s brother has sent her to his new house in Salem to decorate the place, hoping that by being in the town most famous for witches, Cassandra will embrace her own inner witch. While there, she meets others with powers, including sexy cop, Samson. Things get weird, though, when murder victims start showing up based on the seven deadly sins and Cassandra has visions of the murders. On top of that, Cassandra and Samson both seem to be having dreams of Avalon long ago. Are these events somehow connected?
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Memories of Murder by Lara Nance

Lara Nance sure knows how to tell a good ghost story. Memories of Murder perfectly blends the paranormal with a cozy mystery – with some romance thrown in for good measure.

Desperate to escape her past after killing an attacker with magic, Maeve McKenna sheds her witchy ways and takes a position as the resident RN at a small-town nursing home. On her first day of work, her arrival is greeted by one of the Alzheimer’s patients jumping off the roof of the building. Everyone else thinks it was a result of his condition, but the more Maeve learns about the patient’s life, the more she thinks there is something wrong with his diagnosis.
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Dead World by Shannon Rouchelle

Shannon Rouchelle’s Dead World is perhaps one of the most unique books I have ever read. In it, she combines my two favorite subgenres – ghost stories and epic fantasy – which is something I have never come across before.

After the death of his son, Ryan, Dennis Campbell’s life begins falling apart. His days are filled with sightings of his wife who left him for his best friend and moved just across the street. Read More »

Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

There are times when nothing can beat a good, old-fashioned scary story. Lisa McMann’s Cryer’s Cross falls into this brand of horror, a chilling, creepy tale that just sneaks up on the reader.

Kendall Fletcher has lived her entire life in the small town of Cryer’s Cross, Montana. She dreams of graduating from her one-room high school and attending Julliard to pursue her love of the performing arts. But things start to change in Cryer’s Cross, turning Kendall’s life upside-down. Read More »

Die for Me by Amy Plum

Zombies might be all the rage right now, but they are not the least bit romantic. Amy Plum, though, has figured out how to make them so. Die for Me, the first book in her Revenants trilogy, brings to the forefront an ancient paranormal creature similar to a zombie or vampire called a revenant—but Plum puts her own spin on the genre, making them a far cry from the terrifying monsters of old.
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Nightmare by Annette Shelley

A cursed family heirloom is the heart of Annette Shelley’s Nightmare. Arte Shaw is an up-and-coming appliance sales rep in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1958. Shortly before his wedding anniversary, he is chosen to be the Iowa representative at a big convention in Chicago. His wife, Anita, is not as happy about the trip as he is; it means not only that he will be away for their anniversary but also that he will take his first airplane trip without her. Knowing that the trip means great things for him, Arte is determined to ignore Anita’s coldness and make himself stand out from the other sales reps. In the attic, he finds just what he needs – a strange ring that was his father’s.
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Absolutely, Positively By Heather Webber

The latest Lucy Valentine novel really amps up the mystery. All of Heather Webb’s characters we have come to love are back in Absolutely, Positively, but this time, Lucy’s cases have danger coming at her from every direction.

Work at Lost Loves is picking up, but the staff is constantly distracted by a masked figure who keeps throwing out money to crowds at the park across the street. Read More »